The U.S. has spent months trying to vaccinate those most at-risk of severe illness from COVID-19, from health care providers and the elderly, to essential workers and those with other underlying medical conditions.

In the weeks ahead, data on COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths will show whether that strategy is working.

Spikes in case numbers have typically translated weeks later to increasing hospitalizations and fatalities, a dynamic that should abate after the most vulnerable are immunized. While there are early signs that’s happening in places like nursing homes, whether it will hold true with other at-risk groups and younger people remains to be seen. And the moment of truth is arriving just as infections are rising again in many states.

“It’ll be a test

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